Wyanet, Illinois 61379
On or about May 20, 1832, during the Black Hawk War, two companies of Mounted Rangers entered Bureau County and built a blockhouse surrounded with barricades 15 feet high constructed of heavy timber slabs set in the ground. There were about 140 men in the battalion, and they remained here on duty until the war was over. The fort was named Fort Thomas, for Henry Thomas on whose property it stood, four miles north of Wyanet. A man-made channel connecting the Illinois River with the Mississippi River which shortened the distance for river travel by nearly 500 miles. Discussions of joining the two rivers dates from 1834 with construction finally beginning in 1890 (eastern main line in 1894) and completed in 1907. 155 miles long with 33 original locks, 5 of which have been restored to working condition. Of the original 9 aqueducts, only 6 remain. It takes 21 locks for the 196 foot climb from the river to the west of Wyanet. Cheaper railway transport soon made barge traffic obsolete. The main canal - east to west - spans Bureau, Henry and Rock Island Counties . A feeder canal runs south from the Rock River in Whiteside County to the main canal in Bureau County. Points of interest include: Overseer's House north of Sheffield; canal feeder between Sheffield and Mineral; Lock 22, a girder life bridge in Wyanet; Lock 21 in Wyanet; and, the Hennepin Canal Parkway State Park Museum. The Hennepin Canal Parkway State Park provides opportunities for biking, hiking, horseback riding trails, boating, canoeing, fishing and hunting. Before exploring the wonders at the park, the Visitor Center near Sheffield has several displays that help illustrate the canal's past -- including tools used to build and operate it. At the time the canal was built workers often made their own tools by hand. There's also a model of a lock with a boat going through it and a model of an aqueduct. Get a peek at the plant and animal life at the park through other displays at the center. Just outside the center is a beautiful half-acre patch of wildflower prairie. Among the plantings are little bluestem and big bluestem-- the official state prairie grass. The marsh observation area and duck blind is located near the Visitor Center. There are a variety of marsh type plants and animals including ducks, geese, redwing blackbirds, muskrat and cattails. Civil War Cannon In Wyanet's Cemetery stands a Civil War cannon given to Post 198 Grand Army of the Republic by the United States Government in memory of those who gave their lives in the Civil War. Center Prarie Center Prairie East of Wyanet on Rt. 6 & 34, is home to sixteen acres of many beautiful prairie grasses and flowers. This area is open to the public and is easily viewed from the road from May to October.
Wyanet, IL Weather - Clear 41°F
Currently Clear and 41. Winds from the SSW at 18 mph. Relative Humidity at 76%.